Why the Mets Payroll Doesn’t Matter

The Mets have the highest payroll in the NL, and the second-highest payroll in MLB. Yet they finished in second-to-last place in the NL East. A few bloggers have an idea on how and why the Mets’ money doesn’t matter.

Joe D at MetsMerizedOnline succinctly explains why the Mets’ payroll is so bloated, and how they can learn about value from the Nats, Marlins, and Phillies.

BlueAndOrange.net advances the conversation, bemoaning the signing of Alex Cora and also showing us Where Omar Minaya Hides the Wins.

Sam Page at AmazinAvenue exposes The Real Problem with the Alex Cora Deal — focusing on the inane vesting option built into the contract. A must-read to fully understand the consequences of the signing.

On the flip side, Kerel Cooper likes the signings of Cora and Chris Coste.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude December 2, 2009 at 10:03 am
    Those guys at BlueandOrange really know what they’re talking about. I haven’t found anything they’ve written worthy of disagreeing with yet.

    As for KC, he obviously is failing to see the big picture. Anyone can see the Alex Cora signing won’t prevent the Mets from signing anyone else, and that $2M isn’t a lot of money in today’s age of baseball. But the big picture here is that Cora is not worth $2M, and that the Mets’ inability to properly value Cora means they will likely over-value other free agents this offseason by either giving mediocre talent too much money or too much responsibility. That’s been the bugaboo of Omar Minaya’s for the past 3 seasons (Moises Alou, Oliver Perez, Cory Sullivan, Guillermo Mota, Luis Castillo, Brian Schneider, Tim Redding, etc etc), and by handing Cora more than he’s worth with a ridiculous option for 2011 to boot, it shows Omar has not learned anything from his prior mistakes. So let’s see if KC is still praising Omar when Joel Piniero gets signed for $12M per year to be the #2, or if Jermaine Dye gets inked for $10M to play LF.

  2. Kerel Cooper December 2, 2009 at 1:35 pm
    isuzudude – I respect your opinion and trust me when I say that if the Mets sign Joel Piniero for $12M per year to be the #2, or if Jermaine Dye gets inked for $10M to play LF (like you stated) I will be one of the first to rip the Mets for doing that. I was not “praising” Omar for the Cora signing but I’m not going to kill him for it either. The Mets have bigger fish to fry and I will judge Omar this off season on how they address Starting Pitching, LF, 1b and the bullpen. Because if he fills those positions properly and this team stays healthy and wins, come September/October 2010 we won’t care about Alex Cora’s $2 million.

    Would you have preferred the Mets go elsewhere instead of Cora? If so who? If not, what would have been the type of contract you would have liked to see the Mets sign Cora for? Interested to hear more of your thoughts. Thanks.

  3. isuzudude December 2, 2009 at 4:01 pm
    Thanks for the inteligent response, KC. I watch your videoblogs often and it’s nice to know you’re not just preaching from the mountaintop without interacting with the little guys.

    I have no qualms with re-signing Cora, and, like you say, if the Mets act wisely this offseason in patching up their other holes, particularly LF, SP, and the bullpen, then I agree, whining about giving Cora $2M would not be on my priority list. But if I had my druthers, I’d prefer to give Cora no more than $1M guarenteed, and build in incentive clauses for him to achieve in case he sees more playing time due to injury. A similar contract to what David Eckstein got last year with San Diego, or what Omar Vizquel got with the White Sox this offseason – 2 players I see as being on a somewhat similar plane with Cora.

    However, consider me a skeptic in putting my faith in the hands of a group that has routinely gotten the market value and talent level of free agents wrong in the past, and has shown no trace of learning from prior mistakes by giving an old, injury-prone, talent-limited Alex Cora more than anyone else would consider giving him on the open market with a terrible vesting option to boot. In the end, what can Alex Cora do that Anderson Hernandez or Ruben Gotay can’t, besides take home a higher salary? Again, I realize $2M isn’t going to prohibit the Mets from spending money on anyone else this offseason. But, to me, that’s not the point. The point is the Mets, like always, are over-spending when they don’t have to be, and, instead of looking for a younger, more reliable option, they choose to cut corners and just bring back the veteran who is a favorite in the clubhouse. If the signing isn’t what really irks me, it’s the notion that Omar and company are still up to their old tricks of relying too heavily on broken down veterans, and are still too willing to give top dollar to mediocre talent. How many times should it take getting burned before you realize the stove is hot?

  4. Kerel Cooper December 2, 2009 at 11:50 pm
    isuzudude – first, thanks for watching my videos, I appreciate it. Second, I see your point on Cora and Omar. I guess over the next couple of months we will see if Omar is still really up to his old tricks or if he’s seen the light. If he hasn’t seen the light, he better not make it past the upcoming season…
  5. joejanish December 3, 2009 at 1:34 am
    In addition to the exorbitant salary and the vesting option, the biggest issue with the Cora signing is that it hinders roster flexibility (same with the Coste deal).

    After the Julio Franco situation — during which the Mets were held hostage by his useless roster spot for the entire first half of 2007 — you would THINK that Minaya would have learned a lesson about guaranteeing a contract for the 23rd, 24th, or 25th man on the roster.

    Many made light of the Franco situation — terming it a “minor issue” — until the Mets blew their postseason hopes in the final days of the season. What if Franco had not made the Opening Day roster, or had been released in May? Perhaps his replacement would have made the difference in 2-3 games, and the season would have finished differently.

    My point is, in the NL especially, every roster spot should be treated with sacred attention. The value of roster flexibility cannot be over-emphasized.